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Airbrush for sand blasting


Skip, pleas give me more details about using the airbrush for
sandblasting. I would love to try it! I do not know a thing
about air brushes and the sand that you memtioned, please be
assured that it would be of interest to many on the list, even
though they may not participate.

Don Norris
PO Box 2433 Estes Park, CO 80517


Hi Don,

In dentistry many people use a micro-blaster. It is a small
unit that has one or two ‘pens’ attached to one or two tanks of
abrasive, or glass beads all nicely set-up in a cabinet with
provision for suction attachment… These units use a compressed
air source. They are used to put a texture on the metal in
order to increase the surface area of the crown to be veneered.
The reason that this is used is because in the veneering process
the first layer of porcelain is bonded to the metal both
chemically(via an inter-oxide bond) and mechanically (via the
engaging of the undercuts). These blasters are also used to
rapidly de flask castings. They are an adaption of the tooling
industry which uses them to de-burr holes.

A ‘poor mans version’ is a Paasche air brush. The hopper is
loaded with aluminous oxide abrasive and the air brush is hooked
up to a compressed air source. The item to be blasted is held
over a garbage can or container and it is blasted. You get a
nice satiny texture. Here is the neat part. As the tips wear
out ( and the aluminous oxide does do it) and the orifice size
increases you can use ever increasing sizes of abrasive and
glass beads. The Paasche is not as precise as the micro
blaster, but it is plenty good enough for texturing jewelry.
Just look at the complexity of some of artwork that is produced
on ‘custom’ cars. The sand is available from dental supply
houses but you may be better off looking up “sandblasting” in
the yellow pages. The dental sand is absolutely pristine to
avoid contaminants which will affect bond strength and
color(oxides are the basis for the color in dental stains).
This factor raises the cost of the sand substantially. I’m not
sure of the size of the sand used but 3 microns comes to mind
for some reason. I hope that answers your question. It is
probably more than you ever wanted to know!:o)



Skip Meister
N.R.A. Endowment &
Certified Instructor
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor


I too am very interested in hearing more about sand as an
abrasive using a standard air brush. Here are some other devices

I noted in my Small Parts Inc. catalog–800-220-4242–that there
are two devices, “Abrasive Device” that operates with an air
compressor and micro-grain abrasives including aluminum oxide,
silcon carbide, and glass beads to cut, drill, and shape
materials like glass, ceramics… It’s quite pricey
at $450.00, not to mention the 1-1/2 HP or larger air compressor

They also listed an “Etching and Eraser Kit” ($88.00) which is
also an air-abrasive tool using aluminum oxide, yet is for
delicate abrasion or decorative etching projects. They don’t
mention the type of air compression device needed, however, they
state that the recommended air pressure needed is from 30-45
pounds. Would this be achieved with an air compressor or C02
can? This kit looks very much like an air brush kit.

Has anyone tried these devices and Skip, please tell us more
about your experience with the sand abrasive.




Don-- Check out , I’ve been sand
blasting for years and these guys have agreat line of equipment
and the tech support to go with it. I’ve blasted on everything
from bone to granite. They even have a masking media that will
let you do halftones (pictures) with fantastic detail. They have
a studio mask making system that works like a dream and it’s
reasonably priced. Sorry for the commercial, but I did enough
research and made enough mistakes before going with them. Just had
to put in my two cents. Good luck CYA Leslie


Dear Skip That was an excellent explanation of the use of the
sandblaster. But it brought me back a few years when I used to
frost the inner surface of crowns at chairside in order to spot
grind any irregularities on the internal surface, thereby
insuring a passive fit. In that way we could eliminate any
potential stresses acting on the porcelain. Possible application
to Jewelry Making if one is attempting to fit together two or
more parts with great precision. Thanks for all your cogent
input to this wonderful forum. JZD


used in jewelry. The Paasche airbrush works well but only on a
very tiny scale.

I then tried a small cabinet and airbrush from Harbor Freight
with 240 grit aluminium oxide. This worked better. The Harbor
Freight unit and the Paasche airbrush were about the same price

What are you using to power the airbrush? The Paasche airbrush
would work on a small compresser, but not that well. The Harbor
Freight unit requires a compresser with 100 psi.

I struggled to make this work. If you have more questions, I
would be happy to help.


Hi Dr. Dule,

Thank you for the compliment. That is a great idea. We used a
Jelenko Handi-Sandi for this purpose. I worked right in the
dentists office as his personal slav… er I mean technician;o),
so all of the restorations were delivered with a mat-finish
intaglio [insides for you dentally challenged people :o)]. Rich
Greene is still the best dentist I have ever seen. He left
private practice about 8 years ago because of complications from
his diabetes. He is now permanently down at the L.D.Pankey
Institute in Miami Beach where we both were visiting faculty
members. I really miss him. We were quite a team!
Warmest Regards,


Skip Meister
N.R.A. Endowment &
Certified Instructor
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor